CX500 handlebar surgery

I’ve put off modifying my CX500 for a while. Mostly due to lack of time and funds. My ignition switch started randomly cutting out on me, and since I had to take the bars off to get to it, I thought it might be a good time to “chop and flop” the bars  for a more sporty riding position.  This is an idea I had after seeing the grab bar made out of bmx bars a couple of posts ago.

Stock bars

Stock bars

I cut a couple of inches out of each side. I’m not really sure how you’re _supposed_ to measure where to cut, so I eyeballed it, marked with tape, then checked that the tape marks were parallel with the bottom (clamping area) of the bars. Seemed to have worked ok. I cut some small sections of pipe off an old mic stand I had in the scrap bin and welded them inside the handlebars. This probably wasn’t necessary, but since my welding is pretty bad, I figured it would give me a little bit of safety cushion – if the welds give, the inner pipe should keep the bars from completely falling apart.

Chopped

Chopped

I tacked them up and test fit them on the bike. Master cylinder was totally in the way of where I wanted them to be. It was hitting the turn signal pod. I pulled the pods off while formulating a plan for the turn signals.. Up to this point I still didn’t have a clear vision for what I wanted the front end to look like. I had been thinking about putting the cx500 Custom headlight bracket on, but lately I’ve been thinking about trying to stay with the standard’s mini fairing; especially after discovering that there are little windscreens that fit them. I came up with a way to integrate the form of the turn signals into the fairing. To do this and make more room for the master cylinder, I chopped off the signal pod arms.

Chopped signal pod stalk

Chopped signal pod stalk

Back to the bars.. The shape wasn’t the greatest, but I was working with a lot of limitations. (restricted by the tank / back of the fairing and also the existing curves of the bars) I settled on a shape and made a half-assed jig on my work bench with C-clamps and files to keep the curves where I wanted them. My welds were ugly, but I think I got decent penetration. once cleaned up with the grinder and flap wheel, they looked ok.

Welded in pseudo jig

Welded in pseudo jig

Here they are on the bike in the position I ended up with. Trying to reroute cables to account for the excess length was a PITA. I’m not totally happy with it. There is still some tweaking to be done. I rode it around the block and it was kind of painful to disengage the clutch in this position. I don’t know if it’s just a bad hand position or  if the snaking of the clutch cable under the tank is making it harder to pull.. It was pretty stiff in the first place. You can also see a bit of my turn signal plan here, but I’ll save the rest of that for later.

Back on the bike

Back on the bike

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